May 24, 2024


There’s nothing German automakers like doing more than screwing with their naming conventions, and BMW is once again doing just that. However, instead of making things more complicated and confusing, it’s actually streamlining its naming structure by dropping “i” from the end of its internal combustion-powered vehicles. Don’t worry, it’ll still be at the front of all its EV’s names.

The “i”, of course, was originally a reference to the motors using fuel injection rather than carburetors. It’s been a mainstay on BMW products since the E21 320i all the way back in 1975, but nothing can last forever. Now, according to BMW Blog, “i” will be used exclusively for electric vehicles. BMW’s Senior Vice President of Brand and Product Management, Bernd Köber made the announcement when he was asked why the upcoming BMW X3 M50 (replacing the M40i) was dropping the “i.”

“Historically, even though our interpretation of BMW i was always different, it’s more innovation, not necessarily only electric, and we historically had injection at the end [of the badge], we said, we would like to keep ‘i’ as an asset, and we would like to keep it as a signature to indicate you’re driving an electric car and that was the logic that we had.”

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On a related note, we had to ask another question. You know how electric M Performance models get their names from internal codenames of combustion engines. The i7 M70 is the highest number BMW has used thus far. We quizzed Bernd Körber about whether we’ll see M80, M90, or even M100: ”Three digit is our threshold. So far, nothing in the plan that gets us close to that.”

Aside from the next generation X3, BMW Blog says the 1-Series hatch and 2-Series Grand Coupe will drop the “i” sooner rather than later. It’s also expected the 7-Series will lose its “i” in a mid-cycle refresh in 2026.

Basically, this was all fine until BMW threw an “i” for “innovation” onto its electric vehicles. Having an “i” on both sort of diluted the whole meaning of the letter, so it makes sense it is going the way of the dodo bird on ICE vehicles. Goodnight, sweet prince. You have served us well.

A version of this article originally appeared on Jalopnik.



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